The leading UK electrical retailer brought in Advanced Network Security after struggling to cope with the abundance of wifi products in-store
Network integrator Advanced Network Security has been brought in by leading electrical retailer Hughes Electrical to deploy a “smart” Ruckus wifi system across its outlets.
The wifi infrastructure, centrally managed by Hughes IT staff within its corporate headquarters, is used to connect and demonstrate hundreds of in-store multimedia consumer electronics products, such as smart televisions, wireless music systems and other consumer products now equipped with wifi.
Founded in Lowestoft, Suffolk in 1921, Hughes bills itself as the fourth largest electrical retailer in the UK and the second largest provider of home entertainment and kitchen appliance rentals. Hughes also operates under the Apollo brand, and has over 43 stores across East Anglia and the Midlands.
“Almost every new consumer product coming to market today has an embedded wifi capability,” said Tim Pearce, IT manager at Hughes Electrical. “To effectively demonstrate and sell these products, customers want to actually see and understand how to use them in a live environment.”
Pearce said: “The problem we faced was the inability to concurrently and reliably connect hundreds of multimedia devices simultaneously in our stores. Our existing wireless kit, based on conventional wifi technology, simply wasn’t able to cope with the capacity or traffic demands essential to running our business.”
One device could crash old network
Often a single device in-store on the old network would monopolise bandwidth, rendering other products on display technically impaired. Hughes therefore needed a more robust wifi system that could handle the dense device capacity and streaming of multimedia traffic within a challenging wifi environment, that is often riddled with all sorts of RF noise and interference.
“When it comes to wifi Hughes would be considered a super user,” said Fred Astfeldt, network security specialist at Advanced Network Security, a Ruckus Alpha Dog Partner and the systems integrator that designed and installed the new Ruckus wifi infrastructure.
Astfeldt said: “As the consumer electronics market has evolved, it became apparent that Hughes needed to move to next generation wifi technology that could deliver the power, reliability and capacity to connect a huge number of devices without any complications. Several providers were considered, but Ruckus simply offered the most powerful, dependable and cost-effective kit on the market.”
Hughes is using hundreds of Ruckus ZoneFlex Smart wifi indoor access points across all of its locations. The Ruckus APs are remotely managed from a central point through Ruckus ZoneDirector 3000 Series wireless LAN controllers, installed within the Hughes network operations centre (NOC).